Thursday, March 31, 2011

Jeff Cassar - Miami Fusion

Jeff Cassar, goalkeeper, played in the MLS for the Dallas Burn 1996-97, Miami Fusion 1998-2001, FC Dallas 2003-2006. He was with the Bolton Wanderers of the English Premier League as the backup keeper during the 2002 season, although he did not appear in any games.

The card is printed on grey card stock, similar to the 1050s style baseball cards. The back features career information, fun facts: Most memorable soccer moment was playing in the U-20 World Cup. and Naya (water) Quick Facts. The card is credited to Chris Martin Cards.

The Miami Fusion were part of the MLS from 1998-2001. the team was contracted following the 2001 season along with the Tampa Bay Mutiny, when the league reduced from 12 teams to 10...2000 Miami was the runner-up in the US Open cup, 2001 Eastern League Conference Champions...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

2008 - NJ Ironmen signed photo...

After playing their inaugural season in the MISL, the NJ Ironmen joined the Xtreme Soccer League (XSL) finishing the season in 2nd place. The XSL operated only in 2008, suspending operations July 2009...The teams which moved from the MISL to the XSL were the NJ Ironmen, Chicago Storm, Detroit Ignition and the Milwaukee Wave...

The Ironmen played their games in the Newark Prudential Center..Their game program cover features the Ironmen dancers with mascots from the Ironmen - Metro (the former Metrostars mascot)NY Titans - Mr. Titan (lacrosse), NJ Devils - Jersey Devil (hockey) Jersey Jackals - Jack, Camden Riversharks - Finley, Somerset Patriots -Sparky (baseball) and Socceroo the Philadelphia Kixx Mascot. I don't know why the Kixx are featured unless the photo is from the 2007 season when the Ironmen played against the Kixx in the MISL. Even then why would the feature an opponent? Of the mascots shown only the NJ Devils share the Prudential Center with the Ironmen.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2007 - NJ Ironmen

2007.12.01 Prudential Center, Newark, NJ
Inaugural game of the New Jersey Ironmen v Detroit Ignition...
The local draw to the game was the addition of Tony Meola, in goal for the Ironmen. Daniel Antoniuk connect for a hat-trick in the inaugural game victory for the Ironmen over the Ignition 8-6.

Pele was named honorary captain for the opening game...the game program had this, written by John Archibald..barely 30 years after playing that last game at the Meadowlands, Pele has returned to the Garden State. The man known as the greatest soccer legend of all-time will soon carry us into the next generation of New Jersey sports, just as he was carried around Giants Stadium that rainy day in 1977. while the rooftop of Prudential Center may prevent the sky from dropping tears of joy upon our heads, there will undoubtedly be a need for tissues when the legend of Pele is in our presence. the roof may block the night sky, but that's alright. The brightest star in the sky will be right in front of our eyes.

The field was packed with children lined up around the center circle. Pele walked onto the field into the center of the circle for the first kick and presentations. then the children, who never saw Pele play converged on the man. He touched them on the head, shook their hands and smiled. Drawn like a magnet the children would not leave the field. Announcement were made and the mass of children moved with Pele like a game of magnet ball.

When the field finally cleared, and Pele had departed, we waited for the game to start. The players did not take the field. We waited, an announcement was made that the players will soon take the field and start the game. We later learned that the players were still in the locker room getting autographs and shaking hands with Pele, meeting their hero just as the children on the field had done...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sky Blue FC

Heather O'Reilly - US National Team (2002- )
- 2004 Summer Olympics
- 2007 FIFA World Cup
- 2008 Summer Olympics
- 2011 FIFA World Cup

NJ Wildcats 2004-2005
Sky Blue FC 2009-

Jillian Loyden - US National Team 2010-
Jersey Sky Blue 2007-2008
St. Louis Athleica 2009
Central Coast Mariners 2009
Chicago Red Stars 2010
magicJack 2011

prior to the start of the WPS, Jersey Sky Blue, which would change their name to SKy Blue Soccer

Sky Blue - Jillian Loyden

Jillian Loyden - Sky Blue card (4x6)

A native of New Jersey, Loyden played for the Jersey Sky Blue FC 2007-2008 prior to the formation of the Women's Professional Soccer League..

In 2009 when the WPS started Loyden went to the Saint Louis Athletica. In 2010 she was traded to the Chicago Red Stars..

When the WPS started play the Jersey Sky Blue adopted the name Sky Blue FC.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Christine Pearce - US National Team

Christine (Pearce) Rampone - US National Team - Defender

Central Jersey Splash - 1997 (W-League)
New jersey Lady Stallions - 1998 (W-League)
New York Power - 2001-2003 (WUSA)
Sky Blue FC - 2009-2010 (WPS)
Washington Freedom - 2011 (WPS)

US National Team -
1999, 2003, 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup
2000, 2004, 2008 Olympics
- 2000 Silver Medal
- 2004 Gold Medal
- 2008 Gold Medal

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Heather O'Rielly - US National Team

Addidas promotional card for US National Player Heather O'Reilly...A member of the US National team since 2002, served as co-captain of the inaugural 2009 Sky Blue FC team, which would go on to win the 2009 WPS Championship...

Friday, March 25, 2011

2009 Skyblue FC

Sky Blue FC game day program with Tasha Kai on the front cover...

2009 - Sky Blue FC - WPS Inaugural Game

April 5, 2009 Inaugural game Sky Blue Fc v LA Sol, TD Bank Ballpark, Somerset, NJ...In it's first two home games of the inaugural season of the Women's Professional Soccer League, Sky Blue FC played their home games at TD Bank Ballpark, home of the Somerset Patriots baseball team.

After the WUSA folded, a reorganization committee was formed to help found a new and stronger league...the Women's Professional Soccer league was formed with teams in New Jersey, Los Angeles, Washington, Boston, Chicago, Dallas and St. Louis.
In 2008 the WPS was announced and the league logo introduced, featuring the silhouette of Mia Hamm (in a much copied look from Major League Baseball).

Sky Blue would lose their first game to the Sol 2-0, as the Brazilian sensation Marta connected for both goals. It was strange to watch a soccer game in a baseball park, the dimensions of the field made the seating difficult. The atmosphere of the crowd however made the game enjoyable. At the end of the game, fans rushed to the railings to meet the players, many of whom were very accommodating in greeting their fans...
More than 6,000 fans were in the sell out crowd, Gov Jon Corzine welcomed the team and Julie Foudy and her daughter provided the ceremonial first kick.

May 31, 2009 first home game at Yurcak Field, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
Making Yurcak Field their home pitch, facing the Boston Breakers...After playing their first two home games at a baseball field, Sky blue moved to Yurcak Field. In their first game Sky Blue would defeat the Boston Breakers 2-1 before 3,493 fans. Goals for Sky Blue came from Natasha Kai and Kacey White.

Sky Blue would finish in 4th place and earn a place in the playoffs, which they would go on to win becoming the first champions of the WPS.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

2011 - Red Bull v Seattle Sounders

2011.03.19 Opening Day 2011 season Red Bull v Seattle Sounders, Red Bull Stadium, Harrison, NJ...
The New York Red Bull defeated the Seattle Sounders 1-0 on a goal by Juan Agudelo, his first MLS goal, in the 70th minute. Agudelo, from Columbia, is the first player to advance from the Red Bull Academy and is playing in his second season.

Henry taking the penalty kick

Red Bull had an early opportunity, when Seattle defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado clipped Agudelo in the box to set up a Red Bull penalty kick. Thierry Henry took a low shot to his left, Kasey Keller dove to his right deflecting away the shot and keeping Henry and the Red Bull from taking the early lead...

In previous years the Red Bull organization has provided entertainment from their other athletes...this year was no exception with Ryan Tuerck and Aaron Colton and performing and signing autographs outside of the stadium...There were no spectacles or half-time shows in the stadium, just soccer...
Ryan Tuerck - drifting
Aaron Coulter - stunt bike

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

2010 - Red Bull NY v Juventus

Old warehouse/parking garage across from the stadium
Red Bull mobile sound system
2010.05.23 Red Bull NY v Juventus, Red Bull Arena, Harrison, NJ...
The Red Bull started their second team against Juventus, coming off 3-straight regular season loses and 2 US Open Cup wins by the reserve players...
Behind the talents of Jeremy Hall and Conor Chin, who each scored a goal and rookie Irving Garcia, getting his first start provided the 18,735 at Red Bull Arena a 3-1 victory, in the friendly...Juan Pablo Angle scored the 3rd goal for the Red Bull in the 75th minute, while Juventus' Amauri scored in the 90th minute...
Juventus started the game with Del Piero, Trezeguet, Diego, Padoin, Marrone, Candreva, Grosso, Brandao, Bernardini and Zebina with Manniger in goal...
Our first visit to the new stadium...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

2006 - Red Bull NY Inaugural Game

2006.04.08 Giants Stadium....Inaugural game

After purchasing the Metrostars, Red Bull decided to re-brand the team changing the name, colors and logo, although the majority of the players would remain the same. Red Bull also owns FC Red Bull Salzberg, Austrian Bundesliga; Red Bull Brasil, Serie A2; RB Leipzig, Regionalliga Nord (Germany).

The pre-match ceremony featured a tribute to the great's of New York and New Jersey's soccer past. In attendance were Cosmos' Pele, Giorgio Chinaglia, Shep Messing, Andranik Eskandarian, Carlos Alberto, Franz Beckenbauer, Werner Roth as well as past members of the Metrostars..the game ball was delivered by the Red Bull skydiving team. The half-time show featured Wyclef Jean and Shakira before a freexing crowd of 35,793. Shikara removed her winter coat before she performed!

Facing the NE Revolution, the Red Bull battled to a scoreless draw, as Taylor Twellmen of the Revolution missed 2 golden opportunities, while Amadao Guevara had his chances turned away by Rev keeper Matt Reis and Edson Buddle missed the open net on a wide shot.

Monday, March 21, 2011

2005 - England v Columbia

2005.05.31 Giants Stadium....Double header - Metrostars v Chicago Fire, England v Columbia...

In an effort to being more fans to the Merostars games, double headers would be scheduled, where the second game featured a European or South American team playing a friendly...most fans who came to see the friendly would tailgate in the parking lot during the Metrostars game and enter the stadium right before the friendly would start...

This time the opening game was England v Columbia...England would defeat the Columbian's 3-2, with Michael Owen scoring the hat-trick, with David Beckham getting 2 assists. England controlled the game despite the close score.

In the second game, in which most of the crowd left except for a few English and Columbian fans who meet behind one of the goals to sing and chant through most of the Metros first half, the Metrostars faced the Chicago Fire...Behind goals from Amado Guevara and John Wolyniec the Metros would earn their first home victory of the season. Chris Rolfe scored for the Fire...

The England v Columbian match was an add-on to the schedule, so the Metrostars would add a small sticker to the upper corner of the pre-printed season tickets to include the England v Columbian match.

2005 - Metrostars Katrina Relief

2005.09.03 MetroStars v KC Wizards, Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

While waiting for Tim Ward's Orange MetroStars Jersey to be brought out, several of the Wizard players were leaving the locker room to head to the team bus. Our hostess was doing her best to keep us in line and to keep the walkway clear, however I am not one to pass up an opportunity. I jumped out of line and asked Will Hesmer, Wizards to sign my game program. Our hostess said he can't do that, to which he asked why not, and signed. At this the whole line fell apart and started approaching anyone who was passing us on the way out. The program would also be signed by Nick Garcia, and Shavar Thomas of the Wizards and Ante Razov of the Metrostars, before Tim Ward came out of the locker room to present Mike with his jersey.

In hind site I felt sorry for the young lady trying to do her job, but when the MetroStar players came out to hand their jerseys to the fans it was all over anyway...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

2005 - Metrostars Katrina Relief

2005.09.03 MetroStars v KC Wizards, Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ..
To aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina, the MetroStars wore orange jerseys with lettering on the left shoulder "Katrina Relief 9-3-05", that were raffled off to raise money. The raffle consisted of buying tickets and placing them in containers with player names. while the better known players had their containers full, I placed a few tickets in some of the newer players. Near the end of the game, the winning names were shown on the video screens. When my name came up I was thrilled...Tim Ward played the entire game...

Tim Ward played his college soccer at St. Louis University before joining the MetroStars in 2005. Ward has also had stints with the Columbus Crew, Colorado Rapid, chicago Fire and currently the San Jose Earthquakes...

To get the jersey all of the winners had to meet and be brought down to the locker rooms by a MetroStars hostess. When Tim Ward came out he signed his name in the number 2 and handed his jersey to Mike...

The MetroStars came from behind to tie the Wizards 2-2 to keep them in position for a playoff spot...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Eliseo Giusfredi - Seton Hall

Eliseo Giusfredi is a product of the River Plate Youth Academy, Argentina and for member of the Seton Hall soccer team 2005-2007...2008 he signed with Sportakademklub, Russian First Division, making his pro debut against Volga Tver scoring a goal in the draw...

When I met Eliseo he was still at Seton Hall and told me a tale of a game against Princeton University, where after Princeton scored to tie the game, he was waiting to put the ball into play. he told his team mate that he once scored from mid-field because the goalie did not expect a shot from this distance. His team-mate told him to take the shot, which he did scoring from 60 yards out for the game winner..

Eliseo Giusfredi, Seton Hall, Soccer

This junior Argentinean forward, who can easily be spotted juggling a soccer ball around the Green, is a campus celebrity rivaled only by the basketball team. Jovial by nature, Giusfredi has been making opposing defenses queasy, with 20 goals in two years. After missing the NCAA tournament for the first time in five years, the striker will be relied on heavily to help Seton Hall get back to national prominence. This may be Giusfredi's last season as a Pirate before he hits the pros. Taking Seton Hall back to the NCAA tournament would be a good way to sign off.
-- Brett Hertel 2007

Thursday, March 17, 2011

2001 - Metrostars Christmas

Christmas card I received from the staff of the Metrostars, thanking me for purchasing my partial season ticket package....The drawing is credited to Eric Mantas.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

2004 - Metrostars - Unity wristband

Prior to the 2004 playoffs, the Metrostars distributed a Metrostars Playoff Fever Unity wristband, on a promotional card with information on how to order playoff tickets...and say "I've Got MPF" (their playoff slogan)..

The back of the card provides the following:
During the 2004 playoffs, the Metrostars will be wearing these unity bands as a way to come together. The Metrostars players selected "Unity" as a symbol of their team commitment in their quest for the MLS Cup. The Metrostars would like to encourage you to become part of the team by wearing this Unity Band to show your support for the "Red and Black" during the postseason.
U'ni`ty: n.1. The state of being one; oneness.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mia Hamm - player cards

2007 Topps introduced the Allen & Ginter set of baseball cards which featured stars from "on and off the baseball field". The card design mimics the Allen & Ginter cards produced in the 1800s, which also featured many non-baseball cards. The framed autograph cards were produced on cards that were the original small sized Allen & Ginter cards framed to the standard 2.5 x 3.5 card size.
A few of the cards in this set featured soccer players, most notably Mia Hamm, in both the base card and framed autograph. The back of the base card reads:
Soccer Champion (card #272) - Mia has been the face of the explosive growth of American girls' and women's soccer over the pat two decades and one of the most recognizable stars in sports.
The talented striker led North Carolina to four NCAA titles, became in 1991 the youngest player (19) to win a FIFA Women's World cup crown, led the US to gold in the 2004 Summer Games and broke the international career record for goals.
Mia - Kellogg's and Tony the Tiger Earn Your Stripes promo card featured as part of an advertisement in Sports Illustrated Kids, along with Tony Hawk...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

2002 - Clint Mathis Bobble-head

In 2002 AT&T Wireless ran a promotion offering a Clint Mathis bobble-head. The bobble-head was produced by Bobble Dreams "The World's Best Bobble Head"(TM)...The figure shows Mathis wearing his #13 MeteroStars jersey, juggling an MLS soccer ball. A small AT&T plaque in front. The bobble-head stands about 7" tall. Mathis played for the MetroStars from 2000-2003, playing in 67 games, scoring 33 goals...

The back of the box featured a Mathis bio....along with the official MLS holographic sticker...

Friday, March 11, 2011

2001 - Metrostars v NE Revolution

2001.09.07 Metrostars v NE Revolution...Freekick program featured Wolde Harris on the cover. Harris, a Jamaican International earned 28 caps with the Jamaican National Team. Playing at Clemson University, Wolde would break into the MLS in 1997 with the Colorado Rapid...

Taking the lead early, Rodrigo Faria scored after 5 minutes of play, heading in a Daniel Hernandez corner kick. The Revolution would tie the game on a shot from Jamaican international Andy Williams (would would join the Metrostars for the 2002 season).
Faria would sore his second goal in the 27th minute with a header off a Petter Villegas corner kick. The third goal for the Metrostars came in the first-half injury time, when Adolfo Valencia (Colombian International) headed in a Steve Jolley Corner kick...

2001 - Metrostars

Clint Mathis with my boys, nieces, nephews and friends in the tunnels of Giants Stadium.
Michael had his 7th birthday party at Giants Stadium for a Metrostars game. Usually before each Metrostars game, the Giants/Jets/Metrostars practice bubble was set up with soccer games, skills challenges, human fusball, 3v3 games for the kids to participate in before the game. When we set up the birthday party we were told arrive early and have the kids go to the bubble for the pre-game activities. When we arrived, the bubble was closed. football season was underway and the Giants and Jets had priority, even though they were not using it. After much complaming on my part one of the Metrostars staff offered to take our party onto the pitch to check out the stadium from the sidelines, we could not go on the pitch.

After a few minutes we were escorted into the tunnels under the stadium where the players locker rooms were located. Not knowing what to do with our small party of soccer refugees, we were advised to hang out and wait as the players would soon be arriving. As the players slowly filtered in they greeted the kids. clint Mathis kindly agreed to have his picture taken with this little band of kids. AS they Chicago Fire team bus arrived, the kids lined up to get high-fives from the players as they left their bus.

A bad experience turn out to have some pleasant events, which my boys won't forget.

2001 Metrostars v Chicago Fire

2001.09.01 Freekick MLS Program featuring Hristo Stoitchkov of the opposing Chicago Fire. The program featured stories on rising stars Eddie Johnson, Dallas Burn and Santino Quaranta, DC United...Life in a new land, about foreign born players coming to the MLS...Ray Hudson, head coach Miami Fusion...

The same program was used for 3 games, Sept 1 v Chicago Fire, Sept 7 v NE Revolution and Sept 12 v Miami Fusion...The cover would be changed for each issue to represent the opposing team...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

2003 - US Open - Metrostars

Aug 27, 2003 US Open - Metrostars v New England Revolution, Yurcak Field, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ...

The Metrostars defeated the Revolution 2-1 in the quarterfinals of the 2003 LaMar Hunt US Open Cup before 3,853 fans. With the win the Metrostars advanced to the semi-finals.

In the second golden goal overtime period, a Mike Magee corner was headed in front of the net by Metrostars captain Eddie Pope. Amado Guevara then pounced on the pass to put the ball into the back of the net past Revolution goalkeeper Adin Brown.

Clint Mathis of the Metrostars scored in the 29th minute, while Revolution Jay Heaps scored in the 45th minute to tie the game.

The Metrostars defeated DC United in the semifinals, but lost to the Chicago Fire in the finals. the US Open cup was founded in 1914 and is open to all US Soccer Federation affiliated teams.

Yurcak Field, Rutgers University was dedicated in 1994, and seats 5000 fans at capacity. A great place to see a game.

 Steve Ralston
Tampa Bay Mutiny (MLS 1996-2001)
New england Revolution (MLS 2002-2010)

United States National Team (1997-2007)

Jason Moore
DC United (MLS 1999)
Colorado Rapids (MLS 2000-2001)
Chicago Fire (MLS 2002)
New England Revolution (MLS 2003)

Following the game as we left the bleachers we were near the entrance to the locker room used by the Revolution. Even though they lost a tough game Ralston and Moore were gracious in signing autographs...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Philadelphia Kixx - NPSL-MISL

2003.03.22 Philadelphia Kixx v Milwaukee Wave, First Union Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pa.
The defending MISL Champion Kixx defeated the Wave 15-12 in front of a crowd of 7,437. Kixx forward Joe Scigliano connected on the game winning goal at 10:00 of the 4th quarter. Peter Pappas earned the victory in goal...

The Philadelphia Kixx usually played their games in the Spectrum (1967-2009). In 2001 the Kixx crossed the Delaware River to play at the Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton, NJ...

The Kixx clinched a berth in the NPSL playoffs with a 20-15 victory at the Sovereign Bank Arena, Trenton, NJ. Don D'Ambra had three 2-point goals and an assist for 7 points. Pat Morris and Scott Henderson also scored of the Kixx who are averaging 22 points a game during a 3-game win streak..
2000-2001 Kixx game program....The Philadelphia Kixx formed in 1995 as part of the National Professional Soccer League (1984-2001). When the league disbanded, six of the teams formed the Major Indoor Soccer League. The Kixx won the first MISL Championship (2001-2002 season)...The MISL folded in 2008 and the Kixx joined the National Indoor Soccer League, which changed it's name to the Major Indoor Soccer League in 2008.

The program featured the rules of the game (NPSL) individual player profiles, 1999-2000 statistics and a very nice 2-page Kixx timeline from inception to the end of the 2000 season.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

1996 - Metrostars - Inaugural game

1996.04.20 Giants Stadium - Metrostars Inaugural Game...v NE Revolution.
Originally called the Empire Soccer Club, the team would switch to the MetroStars, which signed Tab Ramos, the first player to be signed to an MLS contract. Tony Meola and Italian player Roberto Donadoni from AC Milan would be added.

After losing their first game at Los Angeles 2-1, the Metrostars opening in Giants Stadium before a crowd of 46,826. the Metrostars' Nicola Caricola would score an own goal to give the NE Revolution the 1-0 victory with 13 seconds remaining in the game...

The MetroStars issued a free newspaper/program called Freekick that was distributed to all fans. Freekick featured Tony Meola on the cover, a Welcome to Major League Soccer from commissioner Douglas G. Logan and articles about the MLS, International Stars coming to the MLS, Individual team previews, Kellogg's association with the MLS, Tony Meola: Home At last, and Soccer Town, USA (Kearny, NJ)

In the Article: American Stars Coming Home by Brian Trusdell, Eric Wynalda is quoted "Two or three years from now, I think we should take our champion and play the best in Europe and I guarantee, we'll beat them."